Vets perform rare blood transfusion to save tiger

Indian vets have carried out a rare blood transfusion on a seven-month-old tiger in a desperate effort to save the animal's life after it was attacked by angry villagers.

The female tiger - still technically a cub - was provided with blood from two adult tigers being held in captivity after she and her sister were rescued by wildlife officials after being beaten by the villagers in Maharashtra, in central India. As is often the case in this country, the villagers were fearful that the two animals were poised to attack children and cattle.

"The cubs were in bad shape at the time they were rescued. They were starving," said Bimal Majumdar, the chief wildlife officer in the region. "The villagers had also beaten them with sticks so they were injured as well."

The cub that required the transfusion - named Juhi after a fragrant white flower that is native to India - was yesterday said to be in a serious condition in a zoo in the city of Nagpu. Juhi and her sister, Jai, were rescued two weeks ago after they were apparently abandoned by their mother and then attacked.

At Nagpur, Juhi underwent what is believed to be the first such blood transfusion of its type. Increasingly concerned about her condition and her falling haemoglobin levels, officials sent a request to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, where doctors tranquilised two adult tigers and drew three-fourths of a pint of blood from each of them.

"The blood grouping procedure is critical, but in India there has been no work done on blood groups," Vinery Jangle, the park’s head veterinarian, told the Associated Press. "There are no studies on blood types and wild tigers."

At the beginning of the 20th century, India’s tiger population was estimated to be as large as 100,000. But last year The Independent revealed how Indian officials had been informed that the numbers had fallen to as low as 1,300 animals. For a nation that is home to perhaps 80 per cent of the world’s wild tigers, the revelation was staggering and the government undertook to take more steps to preserve the animal and its habitat.

But India’s growing population and the spread of urban areas is increasingly putting humans into contact with tigers. As a result, many villagers see tigers as a deadly menace rather than something to be preserved and treasured.

At the same time, large numbers of tigers fall victim to poachers providing the East and South-East Asian trade in rare animals parts and furs. For all its promises, the Indian government has yet to effectively address the issue of poachers. There are also other challenges the tigers of South Asia; in the Sunderbans - the delta region of India and Bangladesh - rising sea levels is destroying tiger habitat and placing them in increased contact with humans.

The rarity of the animals explains the efforts that officials were prepared to take to try and save Juhi. Pandurang Munde, director of the wildlife part in Mumbai, said: "We needed to save the young one’s life. If the hemoglobin was low, there was only one remedy - blood transfusion."

Last night, Juhi was being closely monitored. She was attached to a saline drip and CCTV had been installed so that officials could watch her health around the clock. "She is still not in good shape," said Mr Majumdar. "So we have our fingers crossed."

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MS Dynamics NAV Developer

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: **MS Dynamics N...

Data Analytics Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading organisation...

1st line call logger/ User access administrator

£9 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Warrington a...

Shine Night Walk 2014 - 'On the night' volunteer roles

Unpaid Voluntary Work : Cancer Research UK: We need motivational volunteers to...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star